Download PDF: [S] They saw Rice for the first time

It is reported that when Hadrat Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – sent a Muslim battalion to fight against the Persians, he noticed something unusual happening. Every time, when it seemed like the Persians were defeated, they suddenly regained their strength and regrouped against the Muslims. This news brought immense stress to the eminent leader of the Muslims. Hadrat Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – also received news that reinforcement was reaching these Persians from the city of Uballah. This was a city on the bank of the river Dajlah and this was also a place where the Persians had hidden some of their weapons.


Hadrat Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – then felt that it was necessary to send an army to invade this city. However, when he looked around the city of Madina Shareef, he was greatly disturbed. Most of the men had already departed for war and there were only a few menfolk in left in the city. He then made a list of the people who were still present in Madina Shareef and they were only about three hundred that could join this army. This army was then placed under the command of Hadrat Sayyiduna Utbah bin Ghazawan – may Allah be pleased with him – who had taken part in all the battles in Islam including the Battle of Badr. He was also considered a great solider who was never defeated in any battle.


In this army, the wife of Hadrat Sayyiduna Utbah bin Ghazawan – may Allah be pleased with him – also accompanied him and also the wife of five other Mujaahideen. When they reached their destination, they then camped in a lush valley. There was nothing for the army to eat. Hadrat Sayyiduna Utbah bin Ghazawan – may Allah be pleased with him – asked some of his men to go and look for something to eat.


One of the soldiers relate that as they began to walk in the fields, they noticed two containers. One was filled with ripe dates and the other was filled with something which looked like white seeds. This white seed also seemed to have a small shells around it. When one of the other soldiers saw this, he also said that perhaps the enemy had left it here deliberately so that they can be poisoned.


Anyway, both of these containers were taken to the Muslim camp and the dates were then consumed by everyone. However, since this is the first time they had seen “rice”, everyone was convinced that it was poisoned. They then kept it on one side to see whatever anything appeared from this container of white seeds.


However, one of the horses saw this container and came forward to eat these white seeds and did not seem troubled by it. In fact, after eating, one of the soldiers mentioned that he would guard the horse during the night and if it was close to death, he would slaughter it and have the meat distributed, which in this case was permitted.


However, the next morning the horse was still alive and did not display any ill effect. Someone then suggested that the quickest way to remove poison was to have the contents boiled. They then did this with a little amount of the seeds and noticed that when they had it boiled, the shells came off and there was soft seed inside which had become soft. Only later, did they come to know that this was the first time they had seen rice. (Hayaat-e-Sahaaba, 3/31/32)